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Full text of "Report to the "Charlotte observer" of the celebrations at Guilford Battle Ground, July 4th, 1893"

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University of North Carolina 

This book was presented by the 

family of the late 


Prv.-jideut of the University of North Carolina 

from 1876 to 1890 

/ ,.,- 


To the 

Charlotte Observer" of the Celebration at Guilford 
Battle Ground, July 4th, 1893. 

An immense concourse of patriotic 
North Carolinians has gathered here 
to-day, on this, the 117th nnniver- 
pary of the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, to witness the unveiling of 
the monument erected by Gov. 
Tho8. M. Holt to the memory of the 
North Carolina troops, who here, on 
March 15th, 1781, under Maj. Joseph 
Winston, fought the Hessians and 
Tarleton's cavalry after the Conti- 
nental line had retreated from the 
field of battle. It is estimated that 
there were 10,000 people present. 
There could not have been less than 

Shortly after 11 o'clock the line of 
march was formed at President 
Schenck's headquarters. Twenty 
mounted marshals, all splendid 
physical specimens, took the lead, 
dressed in Continental uniform, un- 
der command of Chief Marshal 
Charles 0. McMichael. They formed 
an exceedingly prettv picture. 

Following them came the Lexing- 
ton silver cornet band, of sixteen 
pieces, which discoursed the sweet- 
est music as the procession moved 
forward. The orator of the day, 
chaplain and distinguished guests in 
carriages followed, and after them 
the Charlotte Naval Battalion, North 
Carolina Confederate Veterans and 
members of the' Guilford Battle 
Ground Company. The procession 
moved along through the beautiful 
groves and grounds, passing by 
Leonidas and Clyde Springs, and 
winding around the almost crystal- 
clear Lake Wilfong, passing under 
the arch of welcome, its pillars 
wrapped in the national colors, and 
the arch proper bearing on one side : 
" The Old North State Forever " and 
on the reverse : " Carolina, Heaven's 
Blessings Attend Her," and arriving 
finally at the speaker's stand in a 
shady grove on the eastern side of 
the field. During the march Judge 
Schenck's youngest son, Paul Wil- 
fong Schenck about twelve years old, 
rode proudly by the side of the car- 
riage containing ex-Governor Holt 

and hi- distinguished father. This 
pati'iotic youngster looked exceed- 
ingly handsome in his bright blue 
Continental uniform and lie sat upon 
his Sjiirited animal with an heredi- 
tary gracefulness that lefiected credit 
upon the horsemanship of his Revo- 
lutionary ancestors who rede after 
Cam|)bell, McDowell or Sevier. One 
of this young man's ancestors on 
his mother's side, named John Wil- 
fong, distinguished himself in tlie 
battle of King's Mountain. 

K a rely is such a distinguished 
group of North Carolinians seen to- 
gether at one time. Any State in 
the Union might have been proud in 
the possession of such sons and 

On the stand were: Gov. P^lias 
Carr; Chief Justice James E. Shep- 
herd, of the State Supreme Court; 
President Geo. T. Winston, of the 
University; Justice Walter Clark, of 
the State Supreme Court ; Dr. Kemp 
P. Battle and Prof E. A. Alderman, 
of the University ; Judge Jesse 
Franklin Graves, of the Superior 
Court ; Assistant Bishop Joseph B. 
Cheshire, of the Episcopal Church ; 
Rev. Dr. T. H. Pritchard, of the Bap- 
tist Church, Charlotte ; Hon. C B. 
Watson, of Winston ; Editor John 
R. Webster, of Webster's Weekly; Col. 
Thos. B. Keogh, Col. Jas. E. Boyd, 
Col. R. M. Sloan, and Dr. D. R. 
Schenck, ef Greensboro ; S. Witt- 
kowsky, Esq., of Charlotte; and 
A!rs Geo. T. Winston and Mrs. 
David Schenck, with Misses Rebecca 
Schenck and Lucy Bevens. of 
Greensboro ; Graves of Mt. Airy, 
and Williamson, of Winston. 

Among the audience were many 
prominent people. Among others 
the Observer caught sight of Profes- 
sors Stephen B. Weeks, J. A. Holmes 
and Henry Louis Smith. There 
were bright-eyed maidens, manly 
youths, winsome matrons, strong, 
nitelligent men in the prime of life; 
others who have climbed the hill of 
life and descended far on the other 
side, on whose heads " the enow 

that never melts had fallen." But 
the central figures that towered above 
all others on this occasion and who 
were the cynosure ol all eyes were 
ex-Governor Thos. M. Holt, through 
whose munificence the monument 
to be unveiled was erected, and that 
patriot of patriots and typical North 
Carolinian, the Hon. David Schenck, 
but for whose untiring labors this 
" Mecca of patriotism " — to quote 
Dr. Pritchard's felicitious expression 
— the Guilford Battle Ground, would 
never have been reclaimed from the 
rank weeds that grew where heroes 
ghed their blood, and but for whose 
unremitting studies some of North 
Carolina's grandest men would have 
remained — with the flight of time — 
" unwept, unhonored and unsung," 
and a shameful lie perpetuated in 
history. Yes, these were the two 
men that this truly representative 
assemblage had gathered to honor. 
Beauty, youth, chivalry, age, genius 
and intellectuality had come togeth- 
er to kneel and worship at the shrine 
of patriotism. 
, Col. Joseph Morehead, of Greens- 
boro, acted as master of ceremonies. 
He first introduced Rev. Dr. T. H. 
Pritchard, who made the opening 
prayer, which was most fervent and 
eloquent. Dr. Pritchard said : " We 
thank Thee, God, that in Thy in- 
finite wisdom Thou didst determine 
to create man, that Thou didst honor 
him b}' making him in Thy own 
image ; that Thou didst endow him 
with lofty capacities of mind and 
heart, crowning him with glory and 
honor, making him but a little lower 
than the angels. We thank Thee 
for the good providences by which 
the race has been preserved through 
all the perils and vicissitudes of the 

" We are here to-day as the repre- 
sentatives of the people of this great 
commonwealth, on this the day that 
is sacred to the memories of the 
American people, to honor Thy great 
name for the kindly interpositions of 
Thy providences in behalf of our 
people. As Thou didst call Abraham 
in the olden time and make him the 
head of a great people whom Thou 
didst foster and cherish and educate 
to be the religious teacher of the 
world for all time, so do we humbly 

believe that Thou didst call the 
Anglo-Saxon race, in the long ago, 
in tlie wild forests of Germany to be 
the great teachers of civil and relig- 
ious liberty to the world. Thou 
didst imbue their minds with a per- 
sonal sense of independence, with a 
love of freedom, with a sacred regard 
for personal rights and Thou didst 
so cherish these principles in their 
lives and characters, developing them 
under the higher and better auspices 
of English government, until the 
full flower and development of those 
princi[)ks found their fullfilment 
and glorious development in these 
United States." 

Dr. Pritchard thanked God for 
planting this people in this fair land 
of ours and said : " We thank 'Ihee 
for the Puritan and the Cavalier ; 
for Washington and for Jefferson and 
for Madison and for Hamilton and 
for Greene and ibr Sumner and for 
Sumter and for Marion and for many 
other heroes, who distinguished 
themselves' on fields of battle in the 
contest for freedom. We cherish 
the memories of our fathers who 
fought and bled and died on this 
consecrated spot and we are gathered 
here to-day as their descendants 
with our hearts filled with the inspi- 
ration of patriotism to erect a monu- 
ment to their memories and to cher- 
ish in sacred honor their names and 
their achievements. We thank Thee 
that Ihou didst put it in the heart 
of one of Thy servants to devote 
time and wisdom and energy and 
great labor to the upbuilding of this 
place, for the increase of interest in 
the part of our people to make this a 
Mecca of patriotism and holy shrine 
for the hearts of the people of North 
Carolina. We rejoice that Thou 
didst put it into the heart of one of 
Thy servant* — Thy patriotic servant 
— to erect this monument which we 
are to-day to unveil." 

Judge Schenck was then intro- 
duced. He arose, leaning upon his 
long staff. For the first time in four 
weeks, he said, he had left a sick 
chamber. There was a stoop in his 
great, broad shoulders and feeble- 
ness in his step as he came to the 
front of the platform. He asked 
that he might be excused if he 
should break down before he finished . 

But it soon become apparent that 
there was no danger of this. The 
old lion was aroused. As he pro- 
gressed in his defense of the much 
slandered North Carolina troops, 
who participated in the fight at 
Guilford Court House, he iorgot that 
he was a sick man. At the first 
mention of the criminal injustice 
done to our soldiers in this engage- 
ment by historians, a feeling of 
righteous indignation pervaded the 
whole being of the speaker. It sent 
the blood tingling to his very finger 
tips; it brought the fiery flash to his 
eye. There was no longer the stoop 
in his shoulders, the halt in his gait. 
In thunder tones he denounced the 

Every intelligent North Carolinian 
knows that Judge Schenck is a pa- 
triot. Every page of his book glows 
with patriotism and love of the old 
North State. The existence of the 
Guilford battleground park is a con- 
stant proclamation of this fact. But 
nobody can ever realize how pa- 
triotic — how intensely, thrillingly 
patriotic Judge Schenck is until 
they have seen him and heard him 
speak. When once you have heard 
him pour forth with fiery eloquence 
the emotions of a heart overflowing 
with love for his state; when once 
you have seen the impulsive tears 
gush to his eyes as he concludes 
some sentence with the words: — 
"North Carolina, God bless her" — 
you can't be very much of a man if 
you don't find yourself feeling for 
your handkerchief to get the mist 
out of your own eyes. The name of 
Schenck will never cease to be a 
synonym for patriotism in North 
Carolina as long as she is a sovereign 

Judge Schenck felt it necessary to 
cut his speech short. His conclusion 
was very pathetic, as he thanked 
Gov. Holt for his great heartedness 
in building this monument on the 
spot where North Carolina troops 
made the last stand at Guilford 
Court House, after Gen. Greene had 
retired from the field, thus leaving 
them to face the Hessians and Tar- 
leton all alone. He felt now that the 
desire of his heart had been accom- 
plished and he could now say, in all 
reverence, like old Simeon, " Lord, 

now lettest Thou Thy servant depart 
in peace." (Judge Schenck's speech 
will be published in full in next 
Sunday's Observer). 

After Judge Schenck had conclud- 
ed his magnificent address, ex-Gov. 
Holt was introduced and his appear- 
ance was greeted with great applause. 
Gov. Holt said that he had not come 
prepared to make any set speech, 
but he hoped the audience would 
excuse any egotism on his part if he 
said, pointing to the monument, 
"The erection of that monument is 
the proudest act of my life." (Great 
applause.) " Read the inscription 
on that monument with one excep- 
tion (that relating to himself). It is 
a better speech than I can make.'^ 
Gov. Holt said, "If there is any peo- 
ple on the face of the American soil 
entitled to celebrate the Fourth of 
July it is the people of Alamance 
and Guilford counties." (Great ap- 
plause). He had been taught, he 
said, in his school days that the Re- 
volution was begun at Concord and 
ended at Yorktown, not a word of 
which was true. It began with 
Alamance and ended practically at 
Guilford Court House. (Applause). 

" I had rather have posterity read 
that I erected that monument," con- 
cluded Gov. Holt, "than have the 
governorship to the end of my life." 
(Great applause). 

Prof. E. A. Alderman then read, 
with fine expression, the beautiful 
poem of Prof. Henry Jerome Stock- 
ard, who, to the great regret of all, 
was unable to be present. 

1 he Observer regrets that the space 
is lacking to make deserved com- 
ment upon the patriotic speeches of 
the following distinguished gentle- 
men: Gov. Elias Carr, Chief Justice 
Shepherd, President Geo. T. Winston 
of the University; Justice Walter 
Clark, Dr. Kemp P. Battle, Assistant 
Bishop Cheshire, and Judge Jesse 
Franklin Graves, a grandson ofCapt. 
Jesse Franklin, who fought in the 

The monument was then unveil- 
ed, upon the signal fired by the 
howitzer of the Charlotte Naval Re- 
serve, Lieut. J. Frank Wilkes. The 
unveiling was done by four beautiful 
young ladies, daughters of North 
Carolina, Miss Carrie Holt, of 

Graham, a niece of Gov. Holt; Miss 
Mary Moore Young, of Charlotte, a 
niece of Mrs. Gov. Holt, and Misses 
Lucy Bevens and Madeline Douglas, 
of Greensboro, the two former selected 
by Gov. Holt and the two latter by 
the directors of the battle ground 

The monument is made of Surry 
county granite and is very handsome. 
On the three fiices of the monunient 
are bronze tablets bearing the follow- 
ing inscriptions : 














Palmam qui meruit ferat. 


Erected by governor thomas m. holt. 


On the fourth face the coat of arms 
of North Carolina is embedded. 

In the afternoon Hon. Cyrus B. 
Watson, of Winston, delivered a 
splendid address to the old veterans. 
The picture he painted of the battle 
fought on the ground where they 
stood was intensely thrilling. 

The Guilford Battle Ground Com- 
pany was organized INIay 7. 1886, 
with Hon. D. Schenck, President; 
and Messrs. J. W. Scott, Julius A. 
Gray, D. W. C Benbow and T. B. 
Keogh, directors. 

Judge Schenck was shortly before 
ithis out on the battle rield obtaining 
data for his book. The place was 

overgrown with briars and weeds. 
One of his sons was with him, assisting 
him in his A'ork The idea sudden- 
ly flashed into his mind that this 
would be the place for the e-tnblish- 
ment of a park as a place to com- 
memorate the glorious deeds of 
North Carolina's s tns in the Revolu- 
tion. He immediately went to the 
owner of the property and asked his 
price for it. He was told $10 an 
acre. The owner paid only SI. 50 an 
acre for it. However, Judge Schenck 
at once bought a large portion of the 
property. He went to Greensboro 
and organized the Guilford Battle 
Ground Company. Other portions 
of the battle field were soon after- 
wards bought and the place gradual- 
ly cleared oft and nuule the lovely 
park it now is. 

There are monuments to tlie 
memory of Gen" Jethro Sumner; to 
the Maryland Heroes, erected by the 
Maryland Historical Society and 
presented by Prof Graham Daves, of 
Baltimore; to Col. Arthur Forbis, 
and Capt. James Tate, who were 
killed here. 

The Clvde Spring on tlie ground 
is called for Mr. W. P. Clyde, of New 
York, who gave the money to adorn 
it. Leonidas Spring is called for 
i eonidas \V. Springs, of Phila- 
delphia, who was a native of Meck- 

Beautiful Lake Wilfong is named 
for John Wilfong, of Lincoln county, 
great-grand-lather of Mrs. Schenck, 
and who was wounded at King's 

There are seventy-five acres in the 
grounds and the State appropriates 
$250 annually towards keeping up 

The citizens of Greensboro contri- 
bute freely to the Company every